Three years on: Wilder's emotions pour out as Blades all but seal promotion
(Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Sheffield United were flying high at the top of League 1 in Chris Wilder’s first season as manager of his boyhood club and a goal from John Fleck that put the Blades one game away from promotion saw the emotions pour out of Wilder.

The opponents were Coventry were at the bottom of League 1 after a very difficult season whilst the Blades after six years of being stagnant in the third division looked to be returning to the Championship.

  • What happened?

The first half was goalless with the only chance falling to Sheffield United wingback Daniel Lafferty whose shot rippled the side netting. Wilder’s side upped their tempo and looked to have taken the lead through top scorer Billy Sharp but it was ruled out for being offside.

With 20 minutes left on the clock substitute Leon Clarke opened the scoring with a close range finish after a inch perfect cross from John Fleck.

Fleck turned goalscorer five minutes later with a stunning solo goal in front of the Kop, where he ghosted past a number of Coventry players before slotting the ball into the far corner on his weaker foot sending Bramall Lane into euphoria. The emotion was too much for Chris Wilder to handle as he joined in with the celebrations with his players, doing a belly slide on the Bramall Lane turf with the rest of the team.

  • The Consequences

This win put the Blades three points away from promotion, which was sealed in their next game away at Northampton three days later. Wilder’s side went on to seal the League One title with 100 points in a truly spectacular and memorable season. 

It has been three years since that night at Bramall Lane and now Sheffield United see themselves in the Premier League and before the enforced break due to Covid-19 were fighting for a European spot.

  • The teams that day:

Sheffield United (3-4-1-2) Moore -  Basham, Wright, O’Connell - K.Freeman, Coutts, Fleck, Lafferty - Duffy - Hanson, Sharp ©

Coventry (4-4-1-1) Burge - Willis (C), Clarke, Turnbull, Stokes - Foley, Brigirimana, Jones, Haynes - Lameiras - Tudgay